A great pass, an easy lay-up, and a final second victory.
It wasn’t easy for Archie to win the Archie Tournament championship game 39-38 over rival Drexel Jan. 26. It was the third time that the Whirlwinds have faced the Bobcats since the beginning of the season and the third time that Archie has come out on top.
“It’s way harder to come back and continue to play the same team for the third time,” Archie senior guard Stefani Simms said. “It’s easy for them to find new ways to beat us, but not for us (to beat them). It’s a lot harder to beat them three times.”
It was down to the final 20 seconds of the game with Drexel ahead at 38-37. The Bobcats had the ball, but a carry violation was called on senior guard Jacklynn Williams, giving the ball back to Archie with just 11 seconds left.
The Whirlwinds called a timeout and a play that Archie just learned the day before was put into place. The ball was passed in to junior guard Jordan Schulte, who was almost too open underneath the basket. Schulte made an easy layup, winning the game.
“I don’t even know,” Schulte said of her thoughts during the play. “Just catch the ball. You shoot layups in practice all the time. It’s an easy shot. You can make it.”
“It’s even bigger because Jordan just had a turnover and threw it to the other team just 30 seconds before that,” Simms added. “She had to make it up. She held her head and focused and she ended up making the winning shot.”
It was a close game throughout. The Whirlwinds were ahead 13-11 at the end of the first quarter and had a 20-17 advantage at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Whirlwinds started out keeping up that lead with a basket by Schulte. But Drexel responded with two shots in a row by Drexel freshman forward Jacy Bolton, closing the gap to 22-21. Archie came back with two free throws from sophomore forward Taylor Plattner, but Drexel retaliated with a free throw from junior forward Adison Barnhart.
Archie scored on a basket from senior forward Kaily Kurzweil, but a three-pointer by Drexel sophomore forward Lauryn Campbell made the score 26-25. The Whirlwinds still led 29-27 going into the final eight minutes of the game.
In the fourth quarter, Drexel tied up the score at 34-34 then took a 38-34 lead with four free throws from Campbell and a basket by junior forward Jenna Bartholomew. After a free throw from Schulte, Archie sophomore forward Sam Ogden was fouled, hitting both free throws to close the gap to 38-37.
“The team effort across the board, it wasn’t our best game,” Schulte said. “But we always find a way to win.”
Simms led the Whirlwinds with 14 points, followed by Plattner with eight and Mallory Wiskur with six. Schulte had five points and Ogden, Kurzweil and Leslie Iseman had two points each.
Drexel was led in scoring by Campbell with 16 points and Bolton with 11 points. Williams had six points, Barnhart had three points and Bartholomew added two points.
The championship trophy is Archie’s fourth in a row and also improves their record to a perfect 18-0, while Drexel falls to 9-7.
“I’m in shock,” Simms said. “It’s amazing. We are 18-0 now. It’s definitely emotional for every person on the team. Not just seniors and not just coaches. But we have worked really hard for it and it feels even since it’s our fourth year. And we won it against Drexel. They put up the best fight, better than any other team does. They don’t give up on it ever.”